Document Type

Finding Aid

Collection Date


Finding Aid Date



MS Murphy PJ


All physical materials associated with the New England Province Archive are currently held by the Jesuit Archives in St. Louis, MO. Any inquiries about these materials should be directed to Jesuit Archives. Electronic versions of some items and the descriptions and finding aids to the Archives, which are hosted in CrossWorks, are provided only as a courtesy.

Biographical Sketch:

Paul Joseph Murphy was born on November 18, 1908 in Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA, the son of Jeremiah Edward and Mary Teresa Crowley Murphy. He attended Milton Public Grammar School and then, Boston College High School from 1922-1926. Following graduation, he entered into the Society of Jesus at Shadowbrook in Lenox, MA on September 7, 1926. Both his novitiate and juniorate were completed at Shadowbrook between 1926 and 1930. From 1930 until 1933, he studied Philosophy at Weston College i nWeston, MA. For his regency, he spent two years at St. George’s College in Kingston,Jamaica, teaching second year Mathematics and Spanish. After his regency, he returned to Weston to study Theology from 1935 until 1939 and also was ordained there on June 19, 1938 by Bishop Thomas A. Emmet, S.J. After completing his Theological studies, he began study in Sacred Eloquence, also at Weston, from 1939 to 1941. He received A.B. and M.A. degrees from Boston College and an S.T.L. in Sacred Eloquence from Weston College. His tertianship year was spent in Port Townsend, Washington from 1941-42. In 1942 he became an Assistant Professor of Religion and Spanish at the College of the Holy Cross,Worcester,MA. From 1943 until 1946 he was a Chaplain for the U.S. Maritime Service and then, the U.S. Navy. During this period, he took his final vows as a Jesuit at Weston College, on February 2, 1944. When he completed his active service as a Navy Chaplain, he returned to Holy Cross College and resumed his previous position for another year. He remained in the naval reserve until 1953. In 1947, he became a Parish Assistant at St. Mary’s in the North End of Boston. In 1948, he began work with St. Joseph’s Retreat League for Workingmen, and would be associated with that work from 1948 until 1964, serving as Co-Director with his brother Edward from 1948-1955, Director from 1955-1963, and Assistant Director from 1963-1964. When he left the St. Joseph’s Retreat League in 1964, he became Assistant Professor of Theology at Boston College, serving in this position until 1970. From 1970 until 1974, he was Retreat Director at Campion Hall inNorth Andover,MA. From 1974 until 1990, he worked with the local apostolate and retreat ministry at Weston College. On August 21, 1990, he died in Boston MA, at the age of 82. He is buried in the Jesuit cemetery at Campion Center in Weston, MA.

In addition to his Province assignments, Fr. Murphy was prominent in many national and local movements. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Catholic Social Action Conference from 1961 until 1966. He served on the board and also worked as a field representative of Morality in Media, New York (MIM), a national organization dedicated to combating pornography and encouraging vigorous enforcement of obscenity laws. Fr. Murphy succeeded the first President of Morality in Media, New York, Rev. Morton A. Hill, S.J. after his death in 1985, serving in that capacity until 1988, after which he became vice chairman. Fr. Murphy was a founder of Morality in the Media of Massachusetts, an affiliate of the national organization. In 1969 he became its First President and served as a Member of the Board of Directors for the remainder of his life. He was also a founder of the Value of Life Committee of Massachusetts (VOLCOM) opposing abortion and euthanasia. He served as a Member of the Board of Governors of VOLCOM from 1972-1977, and remained active with the organization until his death. In 1984, he became a panelist on the “Topic Religion” program of WEEI-AM radio also continuing this activity until his death.

Fr. Paul Murphy was the youngest of three brothers who were members of the New England Province. His older brothers were Fr. George M. Murphy, S.J. (1899-1971) and Fr. Edward L. Murphy, S.J. (1904-1973), who served with Paul as Co-Director of St. Joseph’s Retreat League for Workingmen. The Murphy brothers were also the uncles of another member of the New England Province, Fr. W. Laurence O’Neil, S.J. (1930-2009).

Scope and Content:

Fr. Paul J. Murphy’s papers consist of format, subject, and administrative files. The format series are biographical papers, correspondence, writings, and retreat notes. The subject series consist of Theology Notes, Society of Jesus and New England Province History, and other files, grouped under the Series: Varia – One Folder of Material, that includes “Topic Religion” radio program notes. The administrative files consist of materials related to organizations Fr. Murphy was involved with: Morality in Media, New York; Morality in Media in Massachusetts; and the Value of Life Committee (VOLCOM). Many of the subject and administrative files also contain correspondence and writings. The biographical papers document his military service and Jesuit membership. The correspondence consists of letters to and from his family, including his brothers, Frs. George M. Murphy, S.J. (1899-1971) and Edward L. Murphy, S.J. (1904-1973), letters from Robert Chaplin (1887-1961), a well-known member of the International Workers of the World (IWW, aka Wobbly), and letters to Editors and Radio-TV stations regarding pornography, obscenity and other topics. The writings are divided into secular and ecclesiastical files. The secular writings cover topics of importance to Fr. Murphy: abortion, pornography, homosexuality and sex education. Speeches are also included in this series. One folder includes notes for a “Proposed Book of My Writings” that gives a basic bibliography of the writings he considered important. The ecclesiastical writings consist of retreat talks, sermons and homilies. The Society of Jesus and New England Province History series includes files on the history of three apostolates of the New England Province: Campion Hall, a retreat house in North Andover, MA; St. Joseph’s Retreat League for Workingmen, a work which Frs. Paul and Edward Murphy founded; and, Xavier High School in Concord, MA. The administrative files contain correspondence, documents, publications, conference materials and subject files specifically related to that organization.



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